When a tooth has been removed or extracted because it has been damaged by gum disease, if it is not replaced, the jawbone that once held onto the tooth may be damaged or absorbed by the body, making it weaker and unable to support a dental implant. It is hard to detect when the jawbone has been damaged, but once your dentist performs a pocket depth measurement, it can show severe pocket depth as well as bone defects.
In as little as six months, you can lose 40 per cent of the original amount of bone and it gradually continues to deteriorate with time. The rate of bone loss differs from individual to individual and depends on various factors. When the bone reaches a level where dental implants are not possible, bone grafting is used to rebuild bone to ensure the success of a dental implant or replacement tooth.
Material used for bone grafting includes:
A bone graft acts as the foundation for rebuilding the bone. Once the graft is placed, your body fills in the area with its own new bone resulting in bone regeneration. This makes a strong foundation for a replacement tooth.
Guided bone regeneration techniques use the body’s natural process of bone remodelling. Osteoclasts are cells in our body that resorb the bone graft, removing it from the grafting site. Osteoblasts are cells in our body that replace this bone with the patient’s own new bone.
Through this process of removing and replacing bone, our bodies are able to remove the bone grafting material and replace it with our own new bone.
The gums are cut in order to make a flap. This flap is pulled back in order to expose the bone underneath. A bone substitute is placed to fill the areas of bone loss.
It is recommended that a membrane is used to cover the area and prevent the soft tissues (gums) from growing into the spaces. This membrane keeps the shape of the new bone as well.
The flap is placed back to cover the area and stitched into place. The membrane resorbs with time.
Depending on the type of bone graft used, this should totally resorb and mature within six to 10 weeks.
With successful bone regeneration, normal spacing between teeth and the attached gum tissue will also be restored.
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